Hey stress case. Yeah you, the guy chewing his fingernails down to the nub – or you, the lady popping a gasket because she can’t handle her workload in an 8 hour day. It’s time for your metaphorical chill pill. Here are science-based ways to relieve your stress so you don’t die an early death from high blood pressure and heart disease. Or wind up in jail from a stress-induced freak out! These come from Rodale Publishing:

  • Find your personal mantra. Silently repeating a word or phrase that has personal meaning to you has a calming effect during times of stress. But the key is: To start using that mantra in calm, relaxed times. That way, when you use it during your wig-out, your body will go into a relaxation response. Your mind needs to connect the words to the feeling of relaxation. That comes from the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System – and it works 75% of the time. And your mantra can be anything from “I can handle it”, to “I like ice cream”. As long as it means something to you.
  • Climb every mountain. High altitude air is charged with negative ions. When you breathe them in, they trigger your happy-hormone serotonin, which lowers your stress levels. In the mountains, the negative ion concentration is typically 3000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. By contrast, the negative ion concentration in an unhealthy place, like on a congested L.A. freeway, is less than 100 negative ions per cubic centimeter. If you don’t have any mountains near by – the ocean and waterfalls have the same effect.
  • Give it a number. Dr. Allen Elkin, director of the Stress Management and Consulting Center in New York City says most of our stress is self-induced. We tend to awfulize and catastrophize life events. To counteract that, give your stress a number on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is a hangnail, 10 is financial ruin. Doing that will give you perspective on your stressor and help you realize when your reaction is out of proportion.